The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced that the Indian Air Force (IAF) will take part in the Exercise Desert Flag-VI.

The country is participating for the first time in the exercise and will join the airforces of France, the US, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Bahrain.

Starting on 3 March, the exercise will run until 27 March at Al-Dhafra airbase in the UAE.

According to a statement issued by the MoD, the IAF will participate with six Su-30 MKI, two C-17 and one IL-78 tanker aircraft in the exercise.

The Sukhoi Su-30MKI is a multirole combat fighter aircraft jointly developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for IAF.

In the exercise, this aircraft will undertake long-range ferry, routing directly from India to the exercise location with ‘aerial refuelling support’ from IL-78 tanker aircraft.

Meanwhile, the C-17 Globemaster III military airlift aircraft is a high-wing, four-engine, T-tailed military transport vehicle that can carry payloads of up to 169,000lb.

It will provide support for ‘induction/ de-induction of the IAF contingent’ in the Exercise Desert Flag-VI.

The MoD said in a statement: “Over the last decade, IAF has regularly hosted and participated in multi-national operational exercises, wherein collaborative engagements are undertaken amongst the best air forces of the world.”

The exercise is aimed at providing the participating personnel with ‘operational exposure’ to a realistic warfare environment to improve their operational capabilities.

The troops will undertake ‘simulated air combat operations in a controlled environment’.